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Hong Kong Maternity Leave Policy – All You Need to Know

While female employees the world over can avail maternity leave from their respective organizations, the nature and duration of that leave varies from country to country. For instance, the maternity leave rules and regulations in Hong Kong are very different from those that are applicable to companies in Australia.

Hong Kong's maternity leave policy is governed by the Employment Ordinance. Let’s explore the various aspects of maternity leave in Hong Kong in this article, such as how long is maternity leave in Hong Kong, who is eligible and what are the payouts.

Maternity Leave in Hong Kong

Maternity leave laws in Hong Kong cover both, paid and unpaid maternity leave. Pregnant employees in Hong Kong are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave. This period includes the period immediately before and after childbirth.

The Hong Kong government has also stipulated up to 4 weeks additional leave in the event of illness or disability related to the birth or pregnancy. This is in addition to entitlement to sick leave for the new mother.

In addition, parents are entitled to a total of 12 months' leave, in connection with the birth and after the birth of the child. This includes up to 12 weeks of leave for the expectant mother during pregnancy and six weeks of leave after the birth of her child. The father can take a full year of unpaid leave.

Expecting employees have to inform their employer about their pregnancy and planned maternity leave no later than four weeks before the anticipated date of childbirth. They may also be expected to share medical certificates confirming the pregnancy and the expected delivery date.

Paid Maternity Leave

Only those employees who have been in continuous employment for more than 40 weeks (working a minimum of 18 hours per week) leading up to their scheduled maternity leave are eligible for paid maternity leave in Hong Kong. The maternity leave is paid for on the employee's regular pay day.

Paid maternity leave in Hong Kong is calculated on the basis of the employee’s average daily wage over the past 12 months, and is capped at 80 percent. This pay is at a rate of 4/5ths of the employee’s average daily wages. Maternity leave pay for the additional 4 weeks period is subject to a total cap of HK$80,000 for each employee.

If the employment at the time of maternity leave application is less than 12 months then that reduces the payout calculation accordingly.

Unpaid Maternity Leave

In Hong Kong, employees who have been in continuous employment for less than 40 weeks before their maternity leave begins are eligible for 10 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Like their counterparts who are eligible for paid maternity leave, this category of employees also needs to give notice of pregnancy and their intention to take maternity leave to their employer no later than four weeks before the anticipated date of childbirth.

How Long is Maternity Leave in Hong Kong?

Giving respite to all pregnant female employees employed across companies in Hong Kong, the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 increased the statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. This became applicable for all female employees who gave birth on or will give birth after December 11, 2020.

Who Is Eligible for Parental Leave?

In Hong Kong, both male and female employees are entitled to parental leave. Here is a quick glimpse of who can avail both:

Employees who have worked at least four weeks but less than 40 weeks are eligible for unpaid parental leave.

When Does Maternity Leave Start?

Maternity leave commences on the date of confinement if it occurs before the scheduled maternity leave. After discussing with their employer, a pregnant employee can commence her maternity leave anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks even before the expected date of confinement.

This start date changes in two conditions. One, if the employee has not yet decided upon the date and, two, has failed to secure her employer's agreement. In such cases, the maternity leave will start 4 weeks before the expected date of confinement.

If the baby is born premature, and before the agreed commencement date, the 14 weeks maternity period will start from the date of birth of the child.

Parental Leave Considerations on a Global Scale

As Gen Z enters the global workforce, parental leave becomes a huge consideration to balance childcare with employment. Progressive countries are also offering shared or transferable parental leave, so that all new parents, regardless of gender, can spend more time with their newborn. More and more job-seekers are opting for those companies that offer generous and inclusive parental leave policies.

BGC, Your Trusted Partner: Hire Global Talent With Confidence

Since parental leave regulations differ worldwide, this can be a complicated area to navigate for companies wishing to expand their global footprint outside their native country. Lending their formidable expertise and experience in this area is the BGC Group , one of the most trusted names in Employer of Record service providers. Having helped thousands of companies stay on the right side of maternity leave laws in a foreign land for over 18 years, BGC takes care of all parental leave requirements and compliance across multiple countries on your behalf.